Grandmasters-Grimaces-Groans-Guffaws & Greatness at Gonzaga.

The students are very pleasant at Gonzaga, particularly when you’re playing in their Excellent Annual tournament, they make you Coffee, offer a sympathetic ear and are very talkative.

For the rest of the year, they’re smashing you off the board and establishing that they are the No 1 team in the land & also in every Leinster division they’re playing in……..doesn’t it make you feel sick!! Seriously, the students are to be fully commended for what they do, and they’re also excellent at the chess individually!!.

A number of our Club players were playing in the Challengers with varying degrees of success and heartbreak. Emilliana Baczkowski found the event a bit overwhelming, letting a couple of wins slip by, but she enjoyed herself. My thanks to John Hensey, Alice O’Gorman, Anastasia Manjolovic, Paul Wallace, Desmond Beatty and Caroline Danaher who all made her feel especially welcome on her competitive debut. Maciej Filajkowski scored 3/6, and that included a last round game v Patrick Brozynski, the Leinster u12 Champion from Malahide. Matthew Tiernan started with 3/4, but a fifth round match against 9th Seed Ronan Sutton derailed his progress. All in all, further experience gained and we’re very proud of you all.

The Championship started with a few shocks, with Luke Scott (remember him?) losing to a young Gonzaga player…then surviving a mate in 4 next round as he then blasted everyone apart, closing with 5/6. Great effort Luke! The Dinosaur caused a major surprise in the first round against the top seeded player, Malahide’s Jacob Flynn…….(game to follow with brief notes.) Malahide are bound to put a contract out on the Creature as he swindled a draw against another of their players when facing mate in 2….Grimaces,Groans & Guffaws spreading rapidly along the table, as it livened up a sleepy Sunday morning. The Dinosaur scored a reasonable 3/6 in the end. Danny Dwyer started with a superb 4/4 which included a win against team-mate Marius Antohi, but young Utkarsh Gupta was not going to be denied as he beat Danny in round 5 on the way to the title. Danny finished on 4/6 the same score as Marius. Gavin Doyle celebrated becoming a new dad recently by scoring 1/4 and heading home which is where he wished he had spent all his weekend with his family. Gavin’s good enough to rebound strongly next time.

Rudolf and Sean played in the Masters event. Neither met a titled opponent, but with 4 Grandmasters, 3 International Masters & 7 Fide Masters in the field, one of whom was rated over 2500, the competition was very tough indeed. Sean scored 2/5 which included a clever comeback to draw against Fiachra Scallan, whilst Rudolf had 2 draws to his name.

The Gonzaga tournament goes from strength to strength every year…………..well done to everyone involved.

Jacob was the most improved player in Ireland last year, with his rating rising over 600 pts. I’d heard how much he had risen from my friends at Malahide, and had a feeling we’d meet over the board.

Jacob Flynn (1829) v The Dinosaur (1408)

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 …a surprise but the next move is forced, and played instantly …….d5  Nothing else works as well as this here. 3. Bg5  The Richter-Veresov attack. ….Nbd7  Black is already comfortable. 4. e3 g6  (…h6 is the preferred move, but I wanted to get out of book). 5. Qd2 Bg7 6. f3  Aiming to occupy the centre by battering it down…okay…come and get it? …..c6 7. e4 de 8. fe Nb6 (..b5 was better but I wanted to see what he was up to and to try and develop.) 9. Nf3 0-0 10. Bh6 …despite failing eyesight, taking the Bishop allows a dangerous attack with Qxh6 followed by Ng5/e5 and it’s not fun anymore.  …a5. 11. 0-0-0 Be6  proud of this move as it aims to control the c4 square, yet protecting d5. One cannot sit back against stronger players…… just get squashed! 12. h4 Bg4 ….didn’t like doing this move, almost giving up a tempo, but liked the pressure Jacob was building up on the h-file even less. It’s not without some compensation though, pinning the knight. 13. e5 Looks good but only if Black retreats the knight to d7…not happening. …Nh5 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Qf2 h6 16. Be2 Nf4 17. Nh2  I felt at the time that this move was passive and despite White forcing a piece exchange, Black was doing well here. …Nxe2+ 18. Nxe2 Be6 Again, happy with this Bishop move as it eyes White’s queenside, whilst also protecting the f7 pawn. The late great GM Paul Keres was absolutely Masterful in defending and attacking simultaneously. 19. Kb1 Nd5 20. h5 a4 21. g4 g5 now blocking the Kingside and narrowing his options of getting through. 22. Ka1 b5  …..only good players would see ..f5 opening up the position but the Dinosaur has no worries on that score. 23. Ng3 Nf4  blocking off the f file as it’s the only one open to the Black king. 24. Nf5+ Kh7 25. Ne3 Nd5  26. N2f1 a3 27. b3 Qa5 Felt right, though I could not see a way through if Jacob defended accurately. 28. Nxd5 Bxd5 and the first real poor reply from Black. Capturing with the pawn gives access to White’s King via the c-file, and Jacob sees what the Dinosaur missed………29. Rh3!  holds the defence. A silent inward groan remained within ……advantage over as they say in rugby! ….b4 was accompanied with a draw offer which was smartly refused. 30. Ne3 Be6 31. Nf5 Qd8  best move was Rd8, allowing for the possibility of a tactic with Qxe5 but this was not seen at the board.. With time running out, the Dinosaur was focused purely on survival now.   32. Qd2 Rb8 33. Qd3 Bxf5  getting rid of an awkward piece…my Bishop dies after a valiant battle, and recognised by Jacob as a Monster. 34. Qxf5+ Kg7 35. Re3 e6 the pawn moving at long last….36. Rf3 Jacob emitted a quiet groan and immediately the Dinosaur’s ears pricked up…and he leapt out from the undergrowth with one aim in mind………..Hunt for the mistake!!!  ….after a short time, checking that there was no trap……………ef   0-1 brought matters to a close.

Final score. Inchicore 3.5 Blanch 2.5 …still in the relegation dogfight and it’s going to be very tight. Well done to Maciej for his brave effort in playing up.

There has been no word from the first team match v Phibsborough, but if what’s coming out of the rumour mill is true, then I would not want to let anyone know the score either.

Ps.  Sadly………….this is not made up!!!…..but good news for Elm Mount &     back to where we started      Gonzaga.

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